Kourabiedes (Greek Christmas Cookie)


Kourabiedes or Kourabiethes (Greek: κουραμπιέδες, pronounced: koo-rah-bee-YEH-thehs) are a traditional Greek almond shortbread cookie made for special occasions like Christmas, christenings and other celebrations. Together with the Melomakarona they grace the Greek Christmas table. Traditionally they were flavoured with rosewater and through the centuries, other flavorings have been added such as  lemon zest, orange zest, etc. Local butter, usually ewe’s and/or ewe’s and goat butter is used but if you can’t find any use regular butter, although the cookies will lack the characteristic taste, they will still be delicious. The real magic of kourabiedes is how they immediately melt in your mouth, the memory of the crumbling delicious almond cookie only lasting until the next one entering your mouth.

Kourabiedes, adapted from Stelios Parliaros


  • 300 grams of Greek Sheep’s milk butter or normal butter
  • 110 grams of powdered/icing sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod or vanilla extract
  • 30 grams of black rum or Metaxa brandy
  • 600 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100 grams of almonds with the skin on, roasted and coarsely cut
  • 300 grams of icing sugar, for coating them

Preheat oven at 160 degrees Celsius and roast the almonds for  12 minutes.  Cut finely once they get cold.

With an electric mixer, whisk the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  This should be done for a long time as the longer we whisk it the more velvety it will become!

Sift together the flour and baking powder and then add to the butter mixture in four or five batches, making sure that each batch is well blended before adding the next. Add the rum. At the end, add the roasted almonds.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Break off 35 gram pieces of the cookie dough and roll by hand into balls, half-moon, or S shapes.

Place in a preheated oven of 180 degrees C.  The temperature of the oven depends of course on the oven you have. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely and then roll the cookies in the confectioners’ sugar.  If placed in a tin box without the sugar they can last up to 3 months.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”


9 thoughts on “Kourabiedes (Greek Christmas Cookie)

  1. Merry Christmas to all the family and a healthy New Year when it arrives. This recipe was most embarasing? Barbara was drooling so much over the mouth watering almond shortbread she had to go and change her shirt ! ! ! (Just joking). Christmas appears to be a really great time of the year for the tasty speciality food. Would it be possible to sample these off season as deserts in the summer? Thanks again Les

    • I must tell you that it reminds me of the Scottish shortbread that I am constantly given by my Scottish friends only that I find the Greek cookie more rich! Have a merry one and happy 2012! 🙂

  2. Happy Christmas to you all Bob said he can taste the almonds now so i will be making them soon. Have a healthy & prosperous New Year love Jane & Bob

  3. HAPPY CHRISTMAS & A HEALTHY NEW YEAR Bob can taste the almonds now so i will be baking soon give our love to all Jane & Bob

  4. Wow that sounds like one hell of a good recipe! I will do that one for New Year. The Melomakarona has gone down a treat, every single person who has come here has remarked on them. Right now Cream Crackered and in dire need of a weeny siesta. Hope you had good celebrations there.


  5. The above recipe was kidly translated by Judy so if any spanish speaking friends are reading it, here is the spanish version!!
    Kourabiedes, adaptado por Parliaros Stelios

    • 300 gramos de manteca de leche de oveja griega o la mantequilla normal
    • 110 gramos de polvo / de azúcar glasé
    • 1 vaina de vainilla o extracto de vainilla
    • 30 gramos de ron negro o brandy Metaxa
    • 600 gramos de harina para todo uso
    • 1 cucharadita de levadura en polvo
    • 100 gramos de almendras con cáscara, tostado y cortado grueso
    • 300 gramos de azúcar en polvo, para el revestimiento de los Kourabiedes.


    Precaliente el horno a 160 grados centígrados y las almendras asadas durante 12 minutos. Cortar finamente, una vez que se enfríe.
    Con una batidora eléctrica, bata la mantequilla y el azúcar hasta que esté ligera y esponjosa. Esto debe hacerse durante bastante tiempo ya que el mayor tiempo que se bate el más aterciopelado que se convertirá!
    Tamizar juntos la harina y la levadura en polvo y agregue a la mezcla de mantequilla en cuatro o cinco tandas, asegurándose de que cada lote se mezcla bien antes de añadir el siguiente. Añadir el ron. Al final, agregar las almendras tostadas.
    Cubra una bandeja de hornear con papel para hornear. Romper la masa en tamaño de albóndigas y formar con la mano en bolas, forma de media luna, o formas de S.
    Coloque en el horno precalentado a 180 º C. La temperatura del horno depende, por supuesto, en el horno que tienes. Hornee las galletas durante unos 20 minutos, o hasta que estén doradas. Dejar enfriar completamente y luego cubrir las galletas con azúcar glasé. Si se coloca en una caja de hojalata sin el azúcar que puede guardar hasta 3 meses.

    ¡Disfrutar comiendo que están buenísimos!

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